As promised, we are sitting down with each of the artist responsible for bringing Mad Dog’s next production, The Thrill of the Chase, opening this Thursday February 16th. We last spoke to Heather Kelley, our Literary Manager who shared with us why this play stood out from the many submissions we received and why despite it’s frequent comparison to Mamet and LaBute, the play is not misogynistic. Read the interview here. Be sure to secure your tickets early for The Thrill of the Chase by clicking here (get the discount code by ‘Like’ing our Facebook page) and learn more about this electrifying production here. Check back soon for interviews with the playwright – Philip Gawthorne, our director – Joel Waage and the rest of the talented cast.
Our interview continues today with one of the stars of The Thrill of the Chase, Ryan Barrentine. Ryan candidly talks to us about dealing with Nicky in the rehearsal room, his impending rehearsal with the audience, and shares with us the perils of hauling a pool table on the back of a truck.
Let’s start by talking a little bit about your character, Nicky. Who is he and what do you think makes him different?
What I love about Nicky is that the nature of the character allows others to constantly influence his decisions. He is everyman, it’s because of this that the actions of the play drive to the heart of every person watching. What I can always appreciate about this type of character is there are very few restrictions to the overall characterization. It is in fact so much more about what Charlie (played by Kevin O’Callaghan), Izzy, and Faith say and do that define who Nicky really is. There are also these very simple subtle nuances through out the script, that even now I pick up on, that slowly reveal his past and his “demons”.
Heather mentioned the characters that inhabit this play sounds like real people, speaking in a language that you might eavesdrop at a bar. How do you find working with the language of this play?
The language of the play is essentially “like reality” which has many pros and cons. This means there are important moments imbedded in a passage that one could easily overlook. It is almost like approaching a very stylized language like Shakespeare, you have to be careful not to just say the words. It is very easy to become quick nonsense, and for the audience to check out. If that happens, those fast paced moments are completely lost inside of everything thats going on. What great about it though, is that when done properly it can become a powerful tool that can make audience members completely forget their witnessing theatre and instead truly believe they know the characters onstage.
What has been some of the unexpected challenges that you have had to overcome through the course of the rehearsal?
I think a challenge of any production is time. You need enough time to memorize the script, nail down blocking and fight choreography, translate emotion into the words, and really work the scenes. But the biggest challenge is always establishing a bond between all the actors, one that allows the characters to have the relationship that’s needed. In this case those friendships started during the first read through, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it never happens.
We are coming up to opening night, what will you be focusing on during rehearsal before the audience arrives?
When it comes time to opening night there is always one thing you haven’t rehearsed yet, and that what the audience will respond to. What moments are going to need air for laughs or need to slow down to understand. Its just always important to focus on what has been set down for us, always remember to listen onstage, and let the arc of the play take its course.
So, how do you think the audience will respond to this play? Do you think they will find this story and these characters important or relevant today?
This is such a relevant play its insane. In fact, conversations in this play could be happening as we are speaking now. Even some of the things that the characters talk about, have happened to me at one point or another which is an awesome and reassuring feeling when working on a character, while other moments are quite grotesque. The play is a very interesting social commentary on friendship, sexuality, violence, and love. Not to mention what some people do when money has no value. I think about it as backwardly misogynistic play, that really plays on the pressures of modern society.
How has your experience been working with the cast, the director and Mad Dog?
This has been the best experience I have ever had working on a show. Every single person in Mad Dog and in the cast is phenomenally talented, there is a sense of stability and professionalism that we all have. Which is so important when working with such a tough play, with lots of uncomfortable moments. I really think that this is one of those thought provoking plays, that will leave people with divided views and some really great bar conversations afterward.
Any funny or memorable stories from rehearsal?
Ahhh and where can I possibly begin, there are so many memorable stories. I really hope that people in the audience will be in shock when they see that pool table onstage, because Joel (the director) and I could have been picking up the shattered pieces of it after it flew out of the back of a pick up truck, into traffic and smashing all over the road. And I think those Friday nights will have to become a weekly thing after the show ends!! Thanks so much to Sarah, Kevin, Nicole, Jenna, and Joel for being the coolest and most talented people ever.
Congrats Ryan ! We are so happy for you. We know you have worked hard and this is just the beginning of a great new future for you. Will pass this along to Lindsey. She will love to see what you are doing too.